Wednesday, June 29, 2011

EC Proposes Tobin Tax

The Tobin tax--a tax on financial transactions--used to be the hobby horse of radical antiglobalization forces. But like so many ideas that start out beyond the pale, this one has come in from the cold (to mix metaphors): the European Commission--generally perceived as a bastion of neoliberalism and headed by José Manuel Barroso, the conservatives' choice for the post--has proposed such a tax as a way of financing an ever-increasing EU budget (and perhaps providing some resources for bailouts of struggling PIGS--resources not subject to veto by skittish voters convinced that they work harder than the lazy folks across the border and shouldn't have to bail them out). The City of London is up in arms, of course. And political opposition will be fierce across Europe, no doubt, as the neo-Tobin tax will be painted as an undemocratic picking of the pockets of ordinary folks for the benefit of fat-cat bankers.

Savor the ironies, if you can, as the torrent of rhetoric comes crashing down on all sides.

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